The Australian Kelpie temperament makes this intelligent herding dog an outstanding worker and a loyal pet.
Australian Kelpies thrive when they have a job to do.
In fact, many Kelpies are still used as working dogs on sheep farms in their native Australia.
If you plan to keep an Australian Kelpie as a pet, you will need to keep his mind and body active!
Australian Kelpie Temperament and Personality
All dogs are individuals, so not all Australian Kelpies will demonstrate the same personality traits. However, here are a few Australian Kelpie traits that are common within the breed:
Australian Kelpies are highly intelligent dogs. They were bred to work in close partnership with their masters, so they are very focused and attentive on their owners.
Australian Kelpies are eager to learn new things. You have to invest the time in training them, but they pick up on things very quickly.
Australian Kelpies love to challenge their brains. It is up to you to keep them focused on constructive tasks such as obedience training and enrichment toys.
If you do not provide proper mental stimulation, your Kelpie will devise his own game and it might not be something you like!
For example, when they get bored, Australian Kelpies are known to bark, chew, dig, and try to chase cars.
Prone to Boredom
To avoid these nuisance behaviors, give your Australian Kelpie something to challenge his brain.
For example, a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter provides a good distraction.
You can also purchase (or make) other brain game puzzles that require your dog to use his brain to get a food reward.
You can also keep him mentally stimulated by getting involved in a canine activity such as agility, disc dog, flyball, freestyle, nosework, search and rescue, rally obedience, or even sheepherding!
Energetic and Athletic
Australian Kelpies are compact little athletes. They are lean, wiry and muscular. They are bred to run for miles and miles across the vast ranches of the Australian outback.
If you plan to keep one in the city, you must have a plan for providing enough exercise for this active breed.
If you are an active person, an Australian Kelpie would make an excellent companion for jogging, hiking or biking.
A daily walk is not going to cut it for this breed—your Australian Kelpie will need at least an hour of aerobic physical exercise every day.
If you are not able to provide that much exercise, you can try to hire a neighborhood teen to take your dog for a daily jog.
You can also bring your dog to a doggie daycare while you are at work. Your dog will be able to romp and play with other dogs all day long. This is a great way to burn off some of his energy!
You will get to pick up a tired dog at the end of the day, and a tired dog is a good dog!
If these solutions are not feasible, consider adopting a senior Australian Kelpie!
Adopting an older Kelpie could be the perfect solution. Older dogs need loving homes, and you will get to enjoy the personality of an Australian Kelpie with lower exercise requirements.
Loyal to Family
The Australian Kelpie is a very faithful companion.
In fact, you will notice many owners can walk their dogs without a leash (although this is not recommended unless you are in a very safe area).
These dogs become so bonded to their caretaker that they will refuse to leave their sides.
May Try to “Herd” Their Pack
A household with very young children is probably not the best match. However, Kelpies can be
As with all dogs, make sure to supervise all interactions between dogs and children.
Likewise, Australian Kelpies can share their home with other pets as long as they are introduced slowly and their interactions are monitored.
Australian Kelpies are herding dogs and some owners report that their Australian Kelpies will try to “herd” their children and/or other pets.
Be aware of this behavior if you bring a Kelpie into a household with kids and other animals.
Aloof with Strangers
Australian Kelpies love their families but they are aloof with strangers. Guests will need to be patient and win their trust.
Kelpies do not appreciate overly affectionate petting or hugs from unknown people.
If you are looking for a breed that will automatically love and accept your guests, this is not the dog for you.
You can help your Kelpie become more comfortable around strangers through socialization.
If you acquire your Australian Kelpie at a young age, sign up for a puppy socialization class. If you adopt your Kelpie as an adult, you can still use treats to help him form a positive association with meeting new people.
Australian Kelpie Dog History
The Australian Kelpie originated in Australia from collie-type dogs imported from Scotland.
The Kelpie evolved over time into a compact, athletic dog that could work sheep in the hot, dusty Australian outback.
You can find many interesting Austrlian Kelpie facts by visiting the website for the Australian Kelpie dog club of America or the Working Kelpie Council of Australia.
Australian Kelpie Size and Appearance
The average Australian Kelpie weight is between 28 and 60 pounds and the average height is between 17 and 25 inches.
Australian Kelpie dogs come in many color varieties such as liver, black with or without tan, blue (grey), red, fawn or tan.
Their coats are short, coarse and weather resistant. Australian Kelpies need to be brushed occasionally, but other than that their grooming needs are minimal.
Is the Australian Kelpie hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, this breed is not considered hypoallergenic.
Australian Kelpie Training Tips
Training your Australian Kelpie will be a fun and rewarding process. These dogs are extremely smart and eager to please their owners.
If possible, sign up for a positive reinforcement obedience class. Always use force-free methods for training your Australian Kelpie.
Do not use “dominance-based” methods on this (or any) breed.
Australian Kelpies are sensitive dogs. If you break their trust by using harsh punishment, it will be hard to regain that trust.
Instead, keep training sessions upbeat and positive. Use treats to mark and reward good behavior. Your Kelpie will catch on quickly!
If you are struggling with any behavior issues, seek help from a professional positive reinforcement trainer.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Kelpie dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Staying Healthy: Australian Kelpie Health Issues
The Australian Kelpie is a fairly healthy breed. However, they can be prone to the following conditions, so be sure to discuss these with a vet before you bring your new pet home:
- Ataxia (neurodegenerative disease)
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
Like all dogs, your Australian Kelpie should visit the vet at least once per year for an annual checkup and vaccinations.
Your Kelpie should also be on flea and heartworm prevention at all times. Spaying and neutering
With excellent care, the Australian Kelpie lifespan is between 10 and 13 years.
Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different or your Kelpie. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely Affe from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 14 yrs+ without pain and suffering.
Australian Kelpie Adoption and Rescue
If you would like to add an Australian Kelpie to your household, please look into Australian Kelpie rescue options first.
Acquiring a Kelpie through a rescue group is more affordable and you will be giving a home to a dog in need.
Most Australian Kelpies in rescue groups and adoption centers are there through no fault of their own.
Some owners acquire this breed but are not prepared to meet their dog’s exercise and training needs. Other owners fall upon hard times or move to an apartment where dogs are not permitted.
Finding the P
erfect Australian Kelpie for Adoption
To find an Australian Kelpie for adoption, visit your local animal shelter or humane society.
Fill out an application and let the adoption counselors know that you are looking for an Australian Kelpie or an Australian Kelpie mix.
Ask to be placed on a waiting list if there are no Kelpies available at the time of your visit.
You can also search for an adoptable Australian Kelpie online by visiting Petfinder.com, Adoptapet.com
These websites will allow you to set notifications so that you will receive an email anytime an Australian Kelpie becomes available for adoption near you.
You can also search for Australian Kelpie rescues or herding dog rescues on Google or through Facebook.
You can even contact rescue groups for similar herding breeds such as Australian Cattle Dogs and/or Australian Shepherds. Sometimes these groups will take in an Australian Kelpie from time to time.
It is rare to find Australian Kelpie puppies available through rescue groups, but it happens occasionally.
There are many advantages to adopting
Their personalities are more established. They are not as hyper as young puppies.
This is already a very high energy breed. If you are worried about meeting the exercise needs of an Australian Kelpie, it might be best to start with an older dog.
Australian Kelpie Adoption Fees
When you choose to adopt through an Australian Kelpie rescue group or an animal adoption society, the Australian Kelpie price will usually be between $75 and $200 depending on the group.
This price generally includes spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and sometimes a microchip.
Finding Australian Kelpie Dogs for Sale
Some people may decide to work with an Australian Kelpie breeder to purchase an Australian Kelpie for sale.
If you decide to go this route, your Australian Kelpie puppy price will likely be between $500 and $1000 depending on the breeding.
If you decide to explore Australian Kelpie breeders, you will need to be extra cautious to find an ethical breeder and avoid a puppy mill.
Recognizing An Irresponsible Breeder or Puppy Mill
There is already a serious problem of pet overpopulation in the US.
Animal shelters are overflowing with animals and forced to euthanize due to lack of homes.
Irresponsible breeders and puppy mills produce puppies to make money with little regard to the puppies’ health and/or behavior.
They also do not give much thought to the fact that the puppies they produce will likely go out into the world and make more puppies that will eventually make their way to animal shelters.
On the other hand, more responsible breeders pay close attention to creating friendly, healthy puppies.
They do not overbreed their dogs and they make sure they have good homes for each and every pup.
And they require buyers to sign a spay/neuter contract in hopes that their puppies will never contribute to the overpopulation problem.
It can be difficult and time consuming to find an ethical breeder, but it is worth the extra effort.
Never simply order an Australian Kelpie puppy over the internet or buy one from a pet store. It may seem convenient, but you are almost certainly supporting a puppy mill with your purchase.
Finding An Australian Kelpie Dog for Sale From a Reputable Breeder
Instead, visit dog shows and canine sport competitions and get recommendations of high quality breeders.
Then, make appointments to visit the breeders in person.
- Ask to meet the Australian Kelpies on the premises to make sure they are healthy, friendly specimens of the breed.
- Request to see their medical records and ask about vetting for the litter of Australian Kelpie puppies before they go to their new homes.
- Ask if the breeder will offer post-purchase support, and ask if they will take the puppy back if things do not work out for some reason.
A good breeder will answer yes to both of these questions.
Conclusion: Why the Australian Kelpie?
The Australian Kelpie temperament makes it the perfect dog for its enthusiasts, but it is not the right dog for everybody.
You need to be ready for a high-energy, high-drive canine athlete!
The Australian Kelpie is a working dog that thrives when it has a job and a purpose.
If you crave a close-knit partnership with an intelligent and loyal dog, the Australian Kelpie might be the dog of your dreams.
Allie has worked in the field of animal welfare for over ten years and as a freelance writer the space for many years. She has had many different kinds of dogs (and cats) throughout her life—all adopted. She currently shares her home with a lovable pit bull mix named Huckleberry.